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A cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision. Most cataracts are related to aging.
The most common symptoms of a cataract are:
Cloudy or blurry vision.
Colors seem faded.
Glare. Headlights, lamps, or sunlight may appear too bright. A halo may appear around lights.
Poor night vision.
Double vision or multiple images in one eye.
Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses.
These symptoms also can be a sign of other eye problems. If you have any of these symptoms, check with your eye care professional. Cataract is detected through a comprehensive eye examination.
There are two types of cataract surgery. Your doctor can explain the differences and help determine which is better for you:
Phacoemulsification or phaco. A small incision is made on the surface that covers the front of the eye. Your doctor inserts a tiny probe into the eye. This device emits ultrasound waves that soften and break up the lens so that it can be removed by suction. Most cataract surgery today is done by phacoemulsification.
Extracapsular surgery. A longer incision is made to remove the cloudy core of the lens in one piece. The rest of the lens is removed by suction.
After the natural lens has been removed, it often is replaced by an artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL) that focuses light is clearly onto the retina, improving your vision.
Rarely, the surgeon cannot remove the entire lens. If this happens, a procedure to all of the lens fragments will be needed at a later time.
Very rare complications can include infection and bleeding. This can lead to permanent vision problems.
Self care instructions
Wear dark sunglasses outside after you remove the patch
Make sure your hands are clean before touching your eye. Try not to get soap and water in your eye.
Do not have head bath till 2 weeks after your cataract surgery. Showering beneath the neck is however permissible.
Things to expect at home
Itching and mild discomfort are normal after cataract surgery. Some fluid discharge is also common. Your eye may be sensitive to light and touch. If you have discomfort, your doctor can suggest treatment. After one or two days, moderate discomfort should disappear.
For a few days after surgery, your doctor may ask you to use eye drops to help healing and decrease the risk of infection. Avoid rubbing or pressing on your eye.
When you are at home, try not to bend from the waist to pick up objects on the floor. In most cases, healing will be complete within eight weeks.
Your doctor will schedule exams to check on your progress. You will usually have a follow-up exam with your doctor after 48 hours. If you had stitches, you'll need to make an appointment to have them removed.